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Fob Watches

Watch fobs, which in their most basic form consist of a small chain that attaches to the watch to make it easier to grasp, came into popularity around the 18th century. Pocket watch wearers became frustrated with the only prior option: a pocket. At the time, men’s waistcoats were designed with a special exterior pocket to house ones pocket watch, but many wanted their timepiece to be more secure.

Soon after, fine metal chains in gold and silver began appearing, artfully attaching the pocket watch to a button lapel. As an added adornment, some paid for extensions, featuring anything from hallmarked silver seals to dazzling dangles that swung from the fob’s lapel attachment.

The fob was thus transformed into an artful statement of elegance that was otherwise utilitarian in nature, saving an entire generation’s pocket watches from precarious falls while adding a bit of luxury to their outfits.


Quick Facts

  • Some women during the Victorian era created fobs that held a lock of their hair, serving as a memento for their husbands to wear daily
  • The use of fob to describe a pocket watch accompaniment began in the 17th century, and its name was most likely derived from the old German colloquial “fuppe,” which referred to a pocket
  • Watch fobs could also be a means of commemorating historic events. In early 2015, a rare “Last Spike” gold fob was auctioned off, one of only a handful that were made to memorialize the completion of the transcontinental railroad in the late 1860s

Recommended Items at Auction

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Group of Pocket Watches Fob Wristwatches
Dec 02, 5:00 PM EST
Group of Pocket Watches Fob Wristwatches
by Plain City Auction
Est: $5- $100
$123 Bids
An 18ct gold cased open face fob watch
Dec 01, 10:00 AM GMT
An 18ct gold cased open face fob watch
by Martel Maides
Est: £200- £250
£1700 Bids
A continental fob watch
Dec 07, 10:00 AM GMT
A continental fob watch
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £400- £600
£2000 Bids
An 18ct fob watch
Dec 07, 10:00 AM GMT
An 18ct fob watch
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £400- £600
£2000 Bids
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DIAMOND FOB WATCH, CIRCA 1930
Dec 07, 11:00 AM GMT
DIAMOND FOB WATCH, CIRCA 1930
by Bonhams
Est: £800- £1,200
£8000 Bids
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UTI: GOLD AND GEM-SET FOB WATCH, 'PARIS SOUS OCCUPATION' FOB WATCH
Dec 01, 11:00 AM GMT
UTI: GOLD AND GEM-SET FOB WATCH, 'PARIS SOUS OCCUPATION' FOB WATCH
by Bonhams
Est: £3,000- £5,000
£3,0000 Bids
Three antique sterling silver fob watches, ladies,…
Dec 11, 11:00 AM AEDT
Three antique sterling silver fob watches, ladies,…
by Amanda Addams Auctions
Est: AUD120- AUD180
AUD900 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Fob Watches


Lyon & Turnbull

Lyon & Turnbull

Bonhams

Bonhams

Martel Maides

Martel Maides

Amanda Addams Auctions

Amanda Addams Auctions